Those who are still using Microsoft's Windows Vista or XP on their aging machines will have one more thing to worry about later this year. Google recently announced that Gmail will stop supporting version 53 of Chrome or older by December.
Gmail Ending Support For Older Versions Of Chrome
The halt specifically affects those still using Vista or XP since Google ended support for both systems since version 49 of Chrome.
So what does this mean for users still unfortunately stuck with either operating systems? Will Gmail stop working in Chrome? Not exactly, but it would provide a lesser experience than modern, more updated Chrome versions.
What Will Happen To Gmail For Those Still On Chrome 49?
Google says the first thing that'll happen is that beginning Feb. 8, a banner will start sitting atop Gmail encouraging users to update to the latest version of Chrome. Of course, doing such won't be possible for Vista and XP users since they're locked down to version 49.
Afterward, when December finally dawns, it appears Google will redirect Gmail users to the site's basic HTML version instead of the much snappier web version upgraded Chrome users are privy to at present.
For Vista and XP users, if Gmail doesn't shift to its HTML version, then there's nothing to worry about. But if Google does implement the said change, then there's no recourse, at least within Google's ecosystem. Losing the current web app version of Gmail entails a handful of features, such as spell checker, import of contacts, rich text formatting, keyboard shortcuts, and more.
Sure, that's a lot of useful extras, but those who only need to write and read emails, or send attachments on Gmail, then the HTML version should fare well enough, that is, unless Google implements further changes down the line that'll ultimately break the service.
Here Are Your Alternatives
Of course, even with the impending halt of Gmail support, there are always third-party solutions. Vista and XP holdouts may turn to different email software such as Outlook Express or Mozilla's Thunderbird, which at present supports Windows XP SP3.
Thunderbird pretty much provides every feature Gmail's HTML version won't, save for customized "from" addresses — also known as aliases — which are Google-dependent. But those with an alias already in use can use it with Thunderbird.
Google stopped releasing Chrome updates for Vista and XP after version 49, since Microsoft itself no longer supports the operating systems. Those who will be affected by the change should have plenty of time to upgrade to a newer OS before Google starts reverting Gmail to its HTML version. Make sure to update to Windows 7, 8, or 10 before December, if you can. Anyway, it's high time users ditch Vista or XP, since a lot of programs are now unsupported on both operating systems.
Hopefully Google doesn't bar anything else aside from Gmail, but the opposite sounds entirely plausible. In the rapidly moving tech world, companies just don't have enough compelling reasons to remain in support of older, possibly lagging operating systems.
Will this affect you? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!